When two SIM cards are not enough


Coolpad Mega 3 detailed review

If you pick a smartphone available today, budget or flagship, chances are it will have dual SIM capabilities. However, Coolpad thinks that’s not enough. The company has a tri-SIM smartphone on offer, the Coolpad Mega 3. The Mega 3, specially made for the Indian market, is a device specially designed for the customer who already has two SIM cards and another one is on the way. want to add mix. Well, according to the latest state of affairs, a third SIM slot for a Trust Jio data connection may make sense for some people. At least that’s what the company said at launch.

However, adding three SIM card slots to a smartphone doesn’t make it worth buying. It should perform well, take good pictures, have good battery life and more. Has the Coolpad Mega 3 to do? Let’s find out.

Build and design
At first glance, the phone is reminiscent of 2015 Coolpad Note 3† The device has a fairly large footprint, thick black bezels around the screen and a very grippy back, thanks to the ribbing on the back panel. It’s made of plastic, which seems outdated given the competition. Phones like the Xiaomi Redmi 3SMeizu M3S and even the more affordable Lenovo Vibe K5 now rock metal backs. That said, the phone feels sturdy, thanks to a metal frame.

Aside from the build quality, Coolpad has added some design touches, such as the soft gold accents around the camera module and the two physical keys. Even the thin band that wraps around the phone has a soft gold finish. All this gives the Mega 3 a distinctive look.

The soft plastic back can be removed to reveal three SIM card slots on the phone, all of which can accommodate 4G SIM cards. There’s even a separate microSD card slot, although the battery is non-removable.

Display and user interface
As if it predecessor, the Mega 3 has a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720p. It is not the best display in the budget smartphone category, but it comes very close to the current champion, the Xiaomi Redmi 3S. The color saturation and viewing angles are good enough, and considering its large size, it can be considered a good media consumption device.

However, a larger screen and 720p resolution means it’s not as sharp as its 5-inch counterparts and you can see the jagged edges of the icons and text up close. The fairly thick black bezels around the screen may not appeal to some either, but considering the price, it’s not a deal breaker.

The UI hasn’t changed since we last saw it on the Coolpad Note 5. So you don’t get an app drawer, the notification shade doesn’t show any quick toggles accessible by swiping up from the bottom, which by the way has a steep learning curve.

You can also enable some gestures to draw on the lock screen and open certain apps, such as the dialer or camera. There’s even a Spotlight Search-like feature that lets you search for an app by sliding down one of the home screens. Interestingly enough, in addition to the essential apps that run in the background, the UI takes up more than 1GB of RAM out of the included 2GB.

The entire setup is done with a MediaTek MT6737 SoC, which we recently saw on the Xolo Era 2X. It’s not a particularly fast SoC and the fact that the UI and background apps take up most of the RAM makes the phone weaker.

The daily performance of this phone is significantly slower than the Redmi 3S and Meizu M3S. You can still use your everyday apps like Gmail, YouTube, Apple Music, WhatsApp, but with some delay. The delay becomes more apparent as you open more apps. Furthermore, opening multiple browser tabs or simply switching between apps doesn’t go as smoothly as we’d like.

The Mega 3 is certainly not intended for people who like heavy gaming. We encountered consistent frame drops and heavy stutters in Asphalt 8 and Marvel Contest of Champions† Contest of Champions hung a few times during testing. Less resource intensive games like Missiles! work satisfactorily.

Aside from the not-so-powerful SoC, we had some issues with the device’s accelerometer, which was not properly calibrated. The problem was the same we encountered while reviewing the Coolpad Note 3S recently. We had to access a hidden menu using USSD codes, which the OEM provided, to calibrate the accelerometer.

Since we’ve encountered the issue on two Coolpad devices, it seems to indicate a lack of proper testing. Indeed, for a regular user, such an issue can be a problem, especially considering the few service centers you will find for Coolpad.

Triple SIM card

Gaming performance aside, we checked the three SIM card slots on the phones, which work as intended. All three SIM card slots support 4G LTE, but you can only use one at a time. Furthermore, the phone does not support active SIM support, so if you are on a call on SIM 1, the other two SIMs will become inactive during that time. The dedicated micro-SD slot is a nice touch and 64GB should be plenty of storage for most.

The Coolpad Mega 3 may not perform well, but battery life is decent. We have a battery life of about a day with two 4G compatible and one 3G SIM card. Our day included about 10 calls, browsing, reading, music streaming, video streaming, an hour of gaming, about 30 minutes of navigation and emails, IMs and social media apps. Around 10pm, the phone finally needed to be charged, but heavier users might need to charge the phone at least once before that.

Like the battery performance, the camera also does a good enough job for the price. The 8MP rear camera takes decent photos during the day. Color saturation, dynamic range and details are well balanced. However, in most photos there is visible noise and this leads to reduced sharpness.

When shooting in low light, there is a very noticeable increase in noise, even around dim light sources. Focusing takes longer than usual in extremely low light, which is understandable for this category, and a strong spike in auto ISO adjustment makes photos practically unusable. The same goes for low light, where the ISO peak is higher than optimal, leading to heavier noise.

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Overall, the Coolpad Mega 3 has a decent camera module for its price, with an obvious weakness in low-light photography. Other phones like the Xiaomi Redmi 3S and the Lenovo Vibe K5 perform better in terms of camera.

The front-facing 8MP camera is also good. Photos have decent color saturation and a flash on the front helps when shooting selfies in low light. The camera is good enough for video chatting and you also get a Beauty mode that works as intended. Photos understandably lacks detail, but is still one of the better modules for its price.

bottom line
With fairly average scores across all measurable features, the Coolpad Mega 3 isn’t quite the best option for a budget buyer. It has a good enough screen and build quality. The battery and camera life are decent, but the performance just isn’t good enough to make it a significant option.

The Tri-SIM functionality will appeal to a niche audience, and for those buyers, it’s the only option in India. however, the Redmi 3s is a much better smartphone to buy and we recommend going for this one.

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